The Week In Manchester United: Martial musters yet another strike as Van Gaal's men produce
The week in five words
It could have been worse.
What went well
United played well against the champions elect and will be disappointed they didn’t win the game, just as they were in the away fixture. They had 70 per cent possession, but then also converted this dominance of the ball into chances, having 21 shots to Leicester’s 14.
Eric Cantona was in the crowd too, so it was nice to serenade him in his presence for a change. Seeing the pictures of him after the game with Peter Schmeichel, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera was great to see.
Also, off the pitch, Luke Shaw was at a charity event at the Carrington training ground, and talked about the possibility of returning to the first team before the end of the season. If Shaw is in the squad for the Cup final, that will go down as one of the highs of the season (which arguably isn’t too difficult to do).
United started the game against Leicester and looked like they could win by a few goals when the first went in. But United defended a set-piece terribly and then just kept possession for the sake of it. The urgency to get the game won just wasn’t there, even if Kasper Schmeichel was called upon to make a couple of good saves.
Quote of the week
“When you see what Huth is doing to Fellaini, that’s a penalty. Shall I grab you by your hair? What is your reaction when I grab your hair? Your hair is shorter than Fellaini but when I do that, what are you doing then? It’s a reaction. Every human being who is grabbed by the hair [reacts]. Only with sex masochism it is allowed.” – Louis van Gaal.
You can only imagine Truus will be blushing when she sees this interview with her husband.
The need-to-know facts
- Anthony Martial's goal was the first Leicester had conceded in the opening 10 minutes of their top-flight fixtures this season.
- Juan Mata made his 100th appearance in all competitions for the Red Devils, more than any other outfield player at the club since the Spaniard made his Manchester United debut in January 2014.
- Leicester remain one of only three teams Wayne Rooney has faced with Manchester United in the Premier League without scoring against.
Video/GIF of the week
Van Gaal proving he needs to do his homework on the players he manages.
Winner of the week
Can it be Martial every week? He scored his 15th goal of the season against Leicester and was United’s most exciting player to watch, as is often the case. He’s netted five in his past 10 games, which is particularly impressive when you consider he’s shoved out on the left, and not in his preferred central position.
His chant, which mocks the English press for writing him off when he first signed, grows in volume every week. It was sung on repeat on Sunday, with the fans acknowledging and appreciating what a great talent they have in their shirt.
Loser of the week
Referee Michael Oliver bottled a lot of the big decisions, or missed them, in United’s 1-1 draw with Leicester.
He awarded a freekick for Danny Drinkwater’s foul on Memphis Depay, when replays showed it happened inside the box. Had United scored the penalty against Leicester’s 10 men with a few minutes left to go, they would now be two points behind City with a game in hand.
He also missed Robert Huth pulling Marouane Fellaini’s hair, and Fellaini responding by elbowing Huth. Danny Simpson could have been sent off in the first half for putting his hands on Jesse Lingard as he raced through on goal, and could have also awarded a penalty to Leicester when Riyad Mahrez ran in to Marcos Rojo and they both went over in the box.
Van Gaal probably deserves a mention too, for claiming that his players aren’t used to being champions. After all, there’s only 13 title winners in United’s squad with just 32 league winners medals between them.